Saturday, October 6, 2012


clip_image002Even though I’m not writing the blog regularly any longer, I still write after my oncologist visits to give you the latest. I had my latest oncologist appointment yesterday (Friday).

A week before yesterday’s appointment, the oncologist’s office called and said that Dr. Tan would be out of the office on the day of my appointment. They offered to reschedule me or I could see his Nurse Practitioner. Knowing that I’d be gone the following week to get our daughter from the airport, coming back from Afghanistan, I opted for the Nurse Practitioner.

I arrived at the oncologist’s office early as always and was called back early. The Nurse Practitioner greeted me and then told me that everything looked great on my blood work, other than the stubborn anemia, etc. She asked if I had any questions. I told her that I had three. The first question was that Dr. Tan always gives me a copy of my results; I asked if I could have a copy of these results. She said I could have the copy she had in her hand. She then proceeded to answer my other two questions when I noticed that the BCR-ABL test, the cancer test, was not there. I asked her about it. She checked the file and then the computer. She said the computer shows that the test was performed but there wasn’t a copy of the test result in the computer. She excused herself and said she’d be right back. She returned to say that the lab was resending the test result and she’d have it in a minute. She left the room again.

This time she came back in with a different look on her face. She said that my test was positive: The cancer is back. The nurse practitioner said that because this test result just got to the office, Dr. Tan had not seen it yet. She said that she will discuss it with him Monday morning and they will call me with any treatment plan changes. She anticipated that Dr. Tan would want to do a bone biopsy. I groaned. She said she understood.

I’ve had an uneasy feeling about this test result for the past couple of weeks. Yet, that isn’t too uncommon; I often get an uncomfortable feeling just walking into any doctor's office!! In this case though, there is just something about facing the cancer question that is especially unsettling.

After my cancer went into remission, Dr. Tan told me that my cancer would likely go active again in about ten years or so. Hopefully by then there would be an effective treatment available for me at that time. Well, unfortunately, ten years turned into one year: I was in remission for only one year.

The good news is that my White Blood Count (WBC) is low. I’ll be in trouble when the cancer causes the WBC count to go high. At that point, I’ll have to consider a bone marrow transplant and all those things that I previously said I wouldn’t undergo. We’ll see though. A bone marrow transplant could be staring me in the face real soon and thus I might have a change of heart!!

I just so happened to have lunch scheduled with my older brother after my appointment. After emailing Eileen at work and contacting the kids about my results, I met my oldest brother for lunch. I told him the news. He offered his bone marrow. I told him that since he just had his gall bladder out, I don’t want bone marrow from someone who doesn’t have a gall bladder!! We laughed. While a bone marrow transplant may be staring at me, I’m not going to think about it too much until I have to.

So, I won’t know much else until Monday. Even so, I’ll likely be on the road before Dr. Tan calls. I’m not sure I’ll be able to blog while gone. I may be gone all week. When I can, I’ll update you.

By the way, I waited to post this until after our daughter, who is in the process of returning from Afghanistan, got a chance to get the news.

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